Emanuele Ricci is an Italian designer specializing in Brand Identity Design, Logo Design and Lettering. Originally from Italy, he started his creative journey moving from London to Los Angeles. Over the years he has been collaborating on several projects with a range of international clients like FX Networks, Snapchat, Hanson Robotics, The Futur and many other brands. Join us in this Designer Interview With Emanuele Ricci.
— The Logo Creative™ (@thelogocreative) April 1, 2020
Led by a strong passion for hand-lettering and typography, Emanuele studied design in Italy, taking courses in London, Barcelona, Rome, and Milan. Soon after his studies, he moved to London, UK, where his work was soon appreciated by many creative agencies.
After a couple of years, he traveled to California, interning for Blind/The Futur in Los Angeles. His challenge as a designer is to empower human gesture and creative thinking over software, conversations over tools, combining a traditional style with today’s digital world.
The Logo Creative – Hi Emanuele, It’s great to feature you in our designer interviews, i appreciate your time taking part.
Emanuele Ricci –Hi Andrew hope you’re well! Thanks again for having me in your selection of designers’ interview. Answering all the questions was quite challenging, they were all good questions.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Emanuele Ricci – It wasn’t a decision really, I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid my mum used to tell me about a friend who drew a handmade sign utilising a combination of illustrations and letters for a local restaurant in Italy. I was so impressed by that story that from then on, I only wanted to draw.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Emanuele Ricci –Work wise, my day is a good combination of client work and personal projects. I try to keep myself updated on the latest industry trends by reading articles, watching videos and learning new skills, not essentially design related.
The Logo Creative – Are you a morning person or night owl and is there a reason why?
Emanuele Ricci – Staying up at night doesn’t work for me. I tried a million times and can never manage to keep my eyes open so I’m easily a morning person.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Emanuele Ricci – When I was five years old I drew a logo representing Mickey Mouse’s face. It was for a kids competition in an Italian magazine called “Topolino”, released by Disney. I eventually won the competition, but I also lost the design. I’d say that was the very first one I drew!
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite Logo you have designed?
Emanuele Ricci – Picking one is not easy, I would say the one I made for Hamilton Family Brewery in California, made in collaboration with Blind and The Futur team.
Sophia the Robot also as it was quite a challenging one. The brief required me to design a handwritten script logo inspired by some of the most famous painters signatures, whilst maintaining a robotic and mechanic feel. It wasn’t easy, but I was happy about the final result and so was the client.
The Logo Creative – What’s the best logo you’ve designed that the clients DIDN’T go for?
Emanuele Ricci – That is a tough one! I always many sketches that haven’t been approved by the client which I consider solid options. In this sketchbook, you can see some of the sketches for Hamilton that weren’t picked.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite Logo of all time?
Emanuele Ricci – I don’t have a favourite one. I love all kind of script logotypes and the nostalgic feeling of marks like: Marshall, Persol, Miller, Instagram, Kleenex. These logos are all handmade with a calligraphic style, the slight imperfections make them unique and timeless.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Emanuele Ricci –There’s only one chance to make a great ﬁrst impression. The logo is the ﬁrst impression for a company, so we need to understand who’s going to see it and interact with it. I always start with a research process that is normally very collaborative with the client. I then start developing the approved concepts with some sketching before getting to the ﬁnal reﬁnements
By doing this, I can relate to the brand and get to know the people along the way as well as gain key insights such as tone of voice, look, and feeling. After the discovery part, I start collecting visual references that help the client to clearly see the direction we are heading towards. Once they approve the visuals, I’m able to start designing.
The Logo Creative – What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your creative thinking?
Emanuele Ricci – I’m interested in those brands that create a strong sense of community by bringing people together. I love seeing people that feel part of a tribe, without even being able to explain the reason why they’re so attached to a certain product.
The Logo Creative – What do you consider your most successful design project, and why?
Emanuele Ricci –I recently had the chance to work with FX Networks designing the logo and typeface for ‘A Christmas Carol’ – a TV series written by the creator of Peaky Blinders, with Steven Knight, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, and Ridley Scott. The logo wants to reﬂect the vibe of the movie: a gritty, darker and spookier adaptation of the original novel by Charles Dickens. It has been an amazing project and had such a smooth collaboration with their creative team
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Emanuele Ricci – It could take me an hour, one week or a few months. There are too many variables that differ between each individual project.
The Logo Creative – What are you recommended design books to read?
Emanuele Ricci – This is a difficult one – I could talk for ages! I’ll try and narrow it down to these: Grafica della Strada by Louise Filli, for the best italian signage inspirations. Logo Minimalism is a great collection of timeless marks. Ok, just one more: Take your Pleasure Seriously by Luca Barcellona. That’s it.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently and is there any you would recommend to designers?
Emanuele Ricci – I would recommend to designers to go back to pencil and paper and start from there. I never want the tools to get in the way of my creative process. I obviously use software depending on my needs, but I can see many designers today adapting their workflow based on a software that could potentially expire tomorrow, without spending time thinking about what you’re creating and why you’re doing it.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Emanuele Ricci – I believe there’s something unique in the imperfection of hand-lettered logos that makes them timeless. I don’t think a logo should be descriptive: it should rather reflect a feeling along with brand’s values and personality. I also believe that in order to be effective a logo should just be appropriate for the company, while being ownable and instantly recognizable.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Emanuele Ricci – Living in a big city is often very eye-opening and helps you see some amazing work around you: from movie posters to advertisements, to bookshops. I get inspired by all these visuals, they are part of a personal visual background that I subconsciously express within my work.
The Logo Creative – When you’re not designing do you have a favorite free time activity you like to do?
Emanuele Ricci –It really depends on where I am, to be honest. I enjoy trying some amatorial photography spotting some murals around the city, as well as spending time exploring old markets and art fairs which I frequently visit when I can
The Logo Creative – What was the biggest challenge you ever faced on a project?
Emanuele Ricci – Dealing with brands that are really attached to their current identity, but still want to make a big change to it. That’s just part of the job.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job as a designer?
Emanuele Ricci – The best part is being able to capture everything you see around you and turning it into new ideas. Having a curious mindset, keeping a creative and a solution-driven attitude. When I go to a market, I always look at the logos, their colors, their messaging. Worst part? It is very difficult to switch off completely.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Emanuele Ricci – When I was a kid I’ve always been impressed by my mother’s drawings and I still don’t know how she was able to do it. She’s the most inspiring person I know.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite graphic designer and why?
Emanuele Ricci – I have been lucky enough to have the chance to work with some of my favorites graphic designers, and I can’t decide who is my favorite. I’ll pick one from the past: Herb Lubalin.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote or quote in general, and do you have a mantra or saying you live by?
Emanuele Ricci –“Everything you can imagine is real.” Any act of creation, whether it is a design piece or a new business, starts off as a vision.
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Emanuele Ricci – Expressing yourself with visuals, making an impact on people.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Emanuele Ricci – In terms of my journey, I never considered my choices as sacriﬁces. I have always been lucky enough to be able to choose what was good for me. I saw every step I have taken as a personal choice and as an exciting challenge: the decision of moving out from my country, talking to strangers, working on several unpaid projects..all of these were small lessons that shaped my vision as a creative professional.
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Emanuele Ricci – I’m still too young for regrets. I’ll figure them out later on.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Emanuele Ricci – Stop scribbling on your desk and go study math. Or at least try.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Emanuele Ricci – Done is better than perfect. We often tend to be a perfectionist by only noticing the mistakes in our work. Sometimes what we consider ‘normal’ or ‘bad’ could be amazing for somebody else.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Emanuele Ricci –Have no fear of perfection, nobody can reach it.